Cancer patients face multiple challenges gaining access to Interventional Oncology therapies. Gatekeeper oncologists may not be familiar with the benefits of the treatments we offer, or may not know an Interventional Oncologist to whom to refer patients. Just as important, interventional radiologists lack training in the science and practice of oncology. Nowhere in the standard diagnostic and interventional radiology training scheme do you learn the fundamentals of oncology that every medical, surgical, and radiation oncologist uses in daily practive. You cannot take your seat at the table at tumor board as an effective partner if you don’t speak the language of oncology. You need to know staging, standard treatment algorithms, systemic therapies and their side effects, when to consult a surgeon or radiation oncologist. To advocate for integration of IO into multidisciplinary treatment plans, you need to become an oncologist.
Whether you are a trainee or practicing interventional radiologist, IO University will provide you the oncologic education you need. Five years in the planning with a budget of more than $1 million, IO University is a global resource for IO on-line learning. WCIO Education Committee members Robert Lewandowski from Northwestern University, Robert Suh from UCLA, and Alban Denys from CHUV University Hospital, Lausanne, Switzerland assembled an expert faculty to create disease-specific and technical modules encompassing all cognitive aspects of IO. After piloting the Language of Oncology module and a webinar on management of malignant ascites (sponsored by CareFusion) in 2015, our first CME-accredited, comprehensive disease-state module on colorectal cancer is now available at no charge (temporarily). These six units provide a thorough grounding in all aspects of the diagnosis and treatment of metastatic colorectal cancer, and offer insights into how IO can be integrated into the treatment paradigm. Faculty include medical, surgical, and interventional oncologists.
In progress for release later in 2016 are modules on HCC and lung cancer. The complete curriculum will roll out over the next three years.
A major enterprise like this to improve access to care for cancer patients would not be possible without the generous participation of our corporate partners, who share our vision of IO as the fourth pillar of oncology. The many contributors are too numerous to list entirely here, but a special shout-out goes to BTG international and Guerbet Global/Guerbet LLC, who each pledged a total of $300,000 over three years. When you meet your contacts from these companies, please give them kudos for their vision supporting the growth of IO.
In the meantime, go to IO-Central.org, log on to IO University, and learn to become a player on your multi-disciplinary team.